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‘Real link not distracting’

Keylor Navas

Belo Horizonte: Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas, hero of a penalty shoot-out against Greece that put the ‘Ticos’ in their first-ever quarter final, is ignoring talk of a possible transfer to Real Madrid while the World Cup is on.

Costa Rica play the Netherlands on Saturday.

“There are more important things right now, like the honour of a nation, and wanting to make history for Costa Rica. Real link is not distracting me,” Navas told reporters asking him about media reports from Spain that Real Madrid are hoping to sign him.

“I’m relaxed. I’m focussed on the national team. A World Cup is a unique opportunity and I’m concentrating on this. For me, the most important thing is Costa Rica,” he added after training.

The 27-year-old currently plays for Levante in Spain and has turned into one of La Liga’s most highly rated goalkeepers.

Spanish media have been speculating that Real Madrid may ditch both their goalkeepers Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez.

The Dutch are overwhelming favourites to knock Costa Rica out of the World Cup, though the Central Americans have been a big surprise, beating Italy and Uruguay then drawing with England to top their group.

“We’re going to give our lives against Holland. Anything can happen, but we’ll try to win, it will be one of the most beautiful games of our lives,” Navas said.

Against Greece in the last 16, Navas made a superb one-handed stop to keep out Theofanis Gekas’s fourth spot-kick before Michael Umana scored to put Costa Rica in dreamland.

The match had ended 1-1 after extra time. “I just try and do the best I can,” Navas added.

Centre back Giancarlo Gonzalez shared the optimism ahead of Saturday’s game — though he hoped to avoid a repeat of the nerve-wracking penalty shootout. “No one gave us a chance, but we got through the group of death, so why not beat Holland?” he said.